english subtitled shows
- cast and creative
Six characters - who have been abandoned by their author - burst into a theatre. In Stéphane Braunschweig’s adaptation, they come across a contemporary theatre company experiencing an artistic crisis: a few actors and a stage director are debating whether or not contemporary theatre should keep dealing with the notion of character and with fiction… What kind of theatre will they make with these intruders who want, like in a reality show, to make their family drama public?
A whole family of half-created characters, left stranded by a writer not very convinced of their interest, bolts into a theatre during rehearsal. To tell the truth, they are not all in search of an author. If two of them vociferously demand to be written – without being able in any way to agree on their version of the drama – two others fiercely resist their privacy being sacrificed; and the two children remain silent – we understand at the end, stupefied, that they are... dead. Because as the play unfolds, these phantoms of literature become fantastic beings who disturb the reality from which they have sprung. Unless their contradictory presence is in the end nothing other than that of the fantasies with which Pirandello fought, and that he is the one who is hidden behind the twists and turns of their story?
Whatever the case, the small troop that is rehearsing in the theatre that they burst into first takes them for madmen, then suspects that they are amateur actors, before finally deciding to take inspiration from their story. Pirandello sketches a satirical portrait of these actors and this director. What they represent in his eyes is obviously “the old theatre” with its ridiculous characters, its superficiality... and not to say its corniness. From the coquetry of the leading female role to the exasperations of the director before these new plays that “seem intentionally made so that no-one understands anything in them” (as by coincidence they were in fact in the process of working on a play by Pirandello!), it is clear that the people of the theatre staged here are as far from the modernity to which Six Characters in Search of an Author lay claim. Without doubt moreover it is, among other, reasons because it violently attacked the theatre of its period that the play created a scandal. This charge against the bourgeois theatre of 1920 however now seems dated, and that is why we imagined rewriting part of the play. Since Pirandello brought the question of the characters to the fore, it seemed interesting to us to have this family of fictitious beings in crisis arrive in the middle of a rehearsal today, in which a troop – also in crisis – ponders and discusses the theatre to be done: can we still talk about characters? Fiction? With such old tools, can the theatre be in sync with our period? With its art? With our new subjectivities?
At a moment when non-fictional, non-narrative, non-psychological theatre forms are multiplying on the stage – but in which, as well, stories of real life delight readers and TV viewers – what welcome will the Six and their inextricable family drama receive? What answers will be gotten from actors who no longer believe in characters? And what theatre inspiration can today’s stage find in the secret obsessions of the Sicilian author?
It is with these questions that we worked on the Six Characters in Search of an Author.
© translation Eileen Powis
Photo copyright © Elisabeth Carecchio - photographie de répétition juin 2012.